More Red Wolves to be released into the wild in Eastern Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Government wildlife officials released two more critically endangered red wolves into the wild in North Carolina and could place several more captive-bred wolves into the habitat this year, according to a new plan submitted to a federal judge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in the filing Monday that it brought two male wolves from a Florida wildlife refuge, paired them with wild female wolves from North Carolina and let them loose in February. One of the male wolves was later killed by a car. The service said it also plans to release another captive-bred pair into the wild this summer and will aim to introduce captive-bred pups into any wild litters born in the breeding season that runs through May. Releases of captive-bred wolves had largely been halted by the government in recent years.
Wolf conservation groups responded that the government needs to move faster.
The plan was submitted to U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, who ordered the agency in January to introduce more wolves into eastern North Carolina, the only place in the world where they roam free. At the time, Boyle noted that as few as seven red wolves remained in the wild. Another approximately 250 live in zoos and refuges as part of the captive-breeding program.
Boyle has given conservation groups suing the federal government two weeks to raise any objections to the new plan.
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